The U.S. Grains Council has taken a targeted marketing approach to distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) promotion in one region in western Mexico, recognizing that members of the Sonora Pork Producers Union and the Sonora Poultry Association could represent a market for 90,000 metric tons (MT) of DDGS, valued at $30 million.
The Council identified two constraints to the Sonora associations’ use of DDGS. The first was a logistical problem associated with the inability to unload rail cars of U.S. DDGS at their facility. The second was the lack of technical knowledge on the use of DDGS in poultry and swine rations. To address the first constraint, the Council and the Missouri Corn Growers Association used member funds, totaling $250,000, to purchase and install stinger equipment that would make for the quick and efficient discharge of DDGS from unit train (110 car) shipments. The Sonora Pork Producers Association saw the immediate value of the equipment and purchased a second stinger to match the first one.
To address the second constraint, the Council organized three seminars for the poultry, swine, and cattle feeders’ associations of Sonora with a DDGS nutritionist and technical expert and a corn and swine producer. Poultry, swine, and cattle producers learned that DDGS had become the most economical co-product available. These presentations came at the perfect time for the Sonora associations to prepare for the use of DDGS in their facilities. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic slowed progress on DDGS sales to the associations, though the groundwork for imports remains.
The project was funded by the Missouri Corn Merchandising Council and the Sonora Swine Association, with both sides contributing a total of $250,000 of industry third-party funds. In addition, the Council invested $8,450 of Market Access Program (MAP) funds for the technical promotion programs, leading to sales of 1,500 MT of DDGS, valued at $525,000, a return on investment of $62 for every $1 of MAP invested. The Council is confident that sales to this region will increase with time and will work in the coming years to achieve the long-term goal of building a new and sustained market for U.S. DDGS.